Wearable Wednesday: Meet Sensoria

Wearable Wednesday: Meet Sensoria

We don’t see a lot of true innovation, but this wearable tech startup is definitely blazing a trail. Not only were they a CES Innovation Award Honoree last year, but they also were the winner at the WT Innovation World Cup in the category of Smart Clothing. Sensoria makes smart clothing with textile sensors that collect data and corrects form. We caught up with Davide Vigano, CEO & co-founder of Sensoria, who told us more about their interesting products and approach.

Describe Sensoria.

Sensoria is smart garment company and a world leader in wearable technology. We offer software, connected electronics and sensor infused garments designed for athletes and fitness enthusiasts at all levels. Sensoria aims to maximize an athlete’s workout by creating smart products that work together, through an integrated app and online dashboard, to monitor and collect data and provide real-time feedback and coaching.

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Tell us about your Sensoria garments, hardware, and software.

Sensoria started with our truly innovative award-winning Smart Socks designed for runners. After four years of research and development, we released the socks with the vision that The Garment is the Computer®. The socks are embedded with proprietary textile sensors that are soft, comfortable, durable and washable. The socks are powered by a flexible and lightweight Bluetooth smart enabled anklet and the free companion app, Sensoria Fitness, to give users real-time updates and coaching to improve form via an artificially intelligent virtual trainer, named Mara. The Sensoria® Smart Socks tell you not only how far and how fast you run, but how well you run. It monitors foot landing technique, foot contact time, average stride length, gait, cadence, speed and more. The data collected provides actionable coaching and results, ideally, reducing the likelihood of injury from improper form down the road.

Next, we introduced Smart Heart Rate Monitoring (HRM) upper body garments in the form of a sports bra for women and a t-shirt for men. Through a Bluetooth enabled HRM device, users can monitor heart rate and heart rate variability. When pairing the upper body garments with Sensoria’s Smart Socks, users are experiencing a complete fitness and running system that enhances an athlete’s training from head to toe.

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Now, Sensoria is upping the game for all fitness enthusiasts with the addition of a cardiologist-designed, patent-pending algorithm called Heart Sentinel™ and new, stylish HRM upper body garments which were recently fully funded on Kickstarter. The Heart Sentinel™ algorithm, embedded exclusively in the Sensoria Fitness v2.0 app, was created by leading cardiologists at the University of Parma in Italy to monitor for cardiac irregularities that often precede exercise-associated cardiac arrest.

Since many athletes, like joggers, long-distance runners and cyclists, exercise alone and in remote areas, exercise-associated cardiac arrest could go unwitnessed for minutes dramatically reducing the chance of survival. If Heart Sentinel™ detects abnormal findings, it offers a short-real time alert countdown to confirm whether the user is unconscious (because they are unable to stop the countdown) or not. If the countdown is not stopped, Heart Sentinel™ alerts selected contacts via text message, urging them to seek help. It may also help to locate the user through GPS coordinates.

What was the inspiration behind starting Sensoria?

Sensoria’s founders have extensive backgrounds in the technology industry, all having previously worked at Microsoft. In 2010, we came up with the idea that clothing could become the next advancement in ultra-wearable computing. We saw the opportunity for the sports apparel and wearable industries to collaborate and reinvent themselves via smart garment technology, so the team decided to develop an integrated family of comfortable footwear and apparel that act like biometric-sensing computers you wear.

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We also wanted it to feel natural and look unique and stylish. The team focused on running from the start, knowing that more than 60 percent of runners suffer injuries each year. Our goal was to create a solution that would help reduce injuries in runners.

How do you differentiate yourself from existing and potential players in the wearable tech market?

What differentiates us from all the other wrist-based wearable products out there isn’t just the novel data we are able to capture and the accuracy of our step counter or cadence monitor, but rather the fact that our sensors are fully embedded into the garment itself and nearly impossible to detect by the naked eye.

Unlike many other existing wearable tech companies, we not only collect data, but we provide feedback to athletes who are looking to correct their form and monitor heart rate. It’s estimated that 50 to 80 percent of runners are injured each year, and studies suggest that this may be related to particular styles of running. The Sensoria smart socks were designed to enable runners to monitor and correct their running form, therefore reducing the risk of injuries.

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We aim to introduce technology with meaningful impact through natural and intuitive execution – basically, we ensure our stuff fits seamlessly into our customers’ lives, they don’t even have to think about it.

What has been one of the most challenging parts of getting started? How did you overcome this and what did you learn?

There were several factors that were initially challenging, including but not limited to: the creation of the proprietary textile sensors themselves and figuring out how to knit or stitch them into the socks. Filing and securing patent protection. Seek the advice of legal counsel.

By far, though, as with any start-up venture is in the creation of the brand. As the saying goes, “you only have one chance to make a first impression”. We believe that this adage applies to brand creation as well. In creating and developing your brand, you first need to create awareness which will translate into adoption and/or conversion.

You also need to determine the size of the market as well as perform market segmentation and target market analysis. You overcome these challenges through trial and error. You know that you need to move fast and in moving fast, you will make mistakes. Just as in life, you need to be able to learn from your mistakes and move forward.

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Do you have any advice to entrepreneurs starting a new wearable tech company?

The wearable marketplace is an extremely hot and growing exponentially. With this type of growth and expansion, you will see more and more companies wanting a piece of the pie. You need to determine how you differentiate yourself and how you position yourself within the competitive landscape.

What can we expect in the future from Sensoria?

Our long term goal is to become the standard ingredient of wearables, and we even want to take it a step beyond that–an IoT approach where the garment itself should be able to replace a wearable device. {Editor’s note: We support this vision and look forward to moving in this direction!} We are now more of an “Internet of Me” company that can IoT enable any garment versus a wearable device company thanks to our new Sensoria Core platform. We are selling products today that have that capability to become a computer, so it can be done.

Where can we buy your products?

Our products can be purchased on our website.  

Learn more about Sensoria by watching the video below, and then check out their truly innovative products here

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